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"Missing" 12th Air Force

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"Missing" 12th Air Force - 2/8/2015 2:34:29 PM   

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I read on one thread somewhere where one problem someone had was the missing 12th US Air Force. I think part of the problem may be the fact that air headquarters in the game are fixed and can't be transferred and with the exception of the Mediterranean Strategic Air Force renaming to the 15th Air Force they don't 'evolve'.

For example from 19 Feb 1942 until 22 Feb 1944 there was the VIII Bomber and VIII Fighter commands that were absorbed into the 8th Air Force when it became active on 22 February 1944 yet the game has the 8th Air Force as of 3 Jul 1943.

What I'm meaning to say is I don't think the 12th Air Force is "missing" as much as existing in a different form. It looks like they had to pick a point in time in order to create the Air Headquarters and even though the 12th Air Force HQ isn't listed I think it is there under another name.

I've been working on trying to understand the US Air Forces in Europe/Mediterranean in WWII and came across this in Wikipedia. Note: the following is a partial listing copied from the 12th Air Force page from


Although the 12th AF was essentially unrecognized in the official Allied air force organization (MAC), it was of course, still a major entity in the USAAF. But even the U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Combat Chronology 1941–1945, recorded its daily chronology entries under "NAAF" rather than "12th AF" between 1 March and 1 September 1943. Ironically, the U.S. Ninth Air Force retained its identity in MAC (and in the USAAF Combat Chronology) even though it was officially a sub-command of RAF Middle East Command and most of its groups were assigned to other operational commands such as NATAF after the February reorganization of the Allied air forces.

On 22 August 1943, the Ninth Air Force's 12th and 340th Bombardment Groups, and its 57th, 79th, and 324th Fighter Groups were transferred to the 12th AF. This change coincided with the transfer of the 9th AF from the MTO to the European Theater of Operations (ETO).

On 1 September 1943 all administrative functions of USAAF elements of NAAF were transferred to the appropriate Twelfth AF organizations: HQ NAAF to HQ Twelfth AF, NASAF to XII Bomber Command, NATAF to XII Air Support Command, NACAF to XII Fighter Command, NAASC to XII AFSC, NAAF TCC to XII Troop Carrier Command (Provincial), NWPRW to Photographic Reconnaissance Wing (Provincial), and NATC to XII Training Command (Provincial) but operational control remained with NAAF.

The general MAC structure persisted until 10 December 1943 when MAC was disbanded and reorganized as the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) with Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder as Air Commander-in-Chief. In mid-January 1944, Lieutenant General Ira Eaker took over MAAF when Eisenhower chose Tedder to oversee air operations and planning for the Normandy Landings. The new MAAF organization retained the original tri-force model adopted by the Casablanca Conference in creating MAC nearly one year earlier:

Mediterranean Allied Strategic Air Force (MASAF) under Major General Nathan Twining
Mediterranean Allied Coastal Air Force (MACAF) under Air Vice-Marshal Hugh Lloyd
Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force (MATAF) under Major General John K. Cannon.

Components of the 12th AF, also under Cannon, were assigned to his various MATAF sub-commands after the 12th's heavy bomb groups (and three B-26 medium bomb groups that were eventually returned to the 12th), were transferred to the newly created Fifteenth Air Force (1 November 1943; briefly under Doolittle and then Twining) as part of MASAF. In January 1944, Doolittle took over the 8th AF in England which along with the 15th AF in Italy, formed the United States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) under former 12th AF, NAAF, and 8th AF commander Spaatz.

As the U.S. tactical air force in the Mediterranean, the 12th AF primarily provided close tactical support to U.S. ground forces in Italy and Southern France and targeted lines of transportation and communication, particularly roads, railroads, and bridges until the end of the war.

12th AF operated in the Mediterranean, French Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Greece, Italy, Southern France, Yugoslavia, Albania, Romania, and Austria. By V-E Day, 12th AF had flown 430,681 sorties, dropped 217,156 tons of bombs, claimed destruction of 2,857 enemy aircraft, and lost 2,667 of its own aircraft.

When hostilities ended, Twelfth Air Force was inactivated at Florence, Italy, on 31 August 1945.


XII Tactical Air Command

XII Tactical Air Command was constituted as XII Ground Air Support Command on 10 September 1942 and activated on 17 September. It was assigned to Twelfth Air Force and redesignated as XII Air Support Command, and later redesignated as XII Tactical Air Command in April 1944. The command was moved to French Morocco on 9 November 1942 as part of the Operation Torch landings in North Africa.

XII Tactical Air Command served in combat in the Mediterranean and European theaters until May 1945

XII Bomber Command

XII Bomber Command was constituted on 26 February 1942 and activated on 13 March at MacDill AAF Florida. It was assigned to Twelfth Air Force in August and transferred, without personnel and equipment, to High Wycombe England where the command was re-formed. XII Bomber Command was moved to Tafaraoui, Algeria on 22 November 1942 as part of the Operation Torch landings in North Africa.

XII Bomber Command served in combat in the Mediterranean theater until 1 November 1943 when most of the personnel were withdrawn. The command was restaffed in January 1944 and served in combat until 1 March. It was disbanded in Corsica on 10 June 1944.

XXII Tactical Air Command

XXII Tactical Air Command was constituted on 26 February 1942 and activated on 5 March. It was redesignated as XII Fighter Command in May 1942, and XXII Tactical Air Command in November 1944.

The command was assigned to Twelfth Air Force in August 1942 and was moved to RAF Wattisham England in September, then on to Tafaraoui, Algeria on 8 November 1942 as part of the Operation Torch landings in North Africa.

XXII Tactical Air Command served in combat in the Mediterranean theater until the end of the war. It was inactivated at Pomigliano Italy on 4 October 1945.

XII Troop Carrier Command.

Seems to have served in the Mediterranean from November 1942 until May 1945.


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Post #: 1
RE: "Missing" 12th Air Force - 2/8/2015 2:44:09 PM   


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I think its the USAF equivalent of Panzergruppen West

(in reply to dereck)
Post #: 2
RE: "Missing" 12th Air Force - 2/8/2015 3:13:35 PM   

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Joined: 10/28/2002
From: Alabama, USA
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You are both correct. It is rolled up into the joint commands that were listed above. RAF Desert Air Force met the same fate. Intent was to streamline the air commands.




I think its the USAF equivalent of Panzergruppen West


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(in reply to Smirfy)
Post #: 3
RE: "Missing" 12th Air Force - 2/8/2015 8:26:59 PM   


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Just a note... I use the Malta HQ as my '12th AF' for providing tactical air to southern France and northern Italy.

(in reply to Great_Ajax)
Post #: 4
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